European "Codger" Blends Available in Europe?

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jaingorenard

Can't Leave
Apr 11, 2022
474
1,783
Norwich, UK
Codger blend is a made up definition. Codger blends in the UK are Sam Gawith, odgens, condor. Codger blends in the U.S. are your drugstore burly blends. I would take European codger blends over american all day every
I'm not sure that's true for SG, really. If you define them as blends you can get at the drugstore (or newsagents' here), it would be things like Condor, St Bruno, Clan, Original Flake and maybe a couple of others. Sadly Ogdens don't exist anymore, St Bruno and Original/Walnut are both MacBaren offerings nowadays. I definitely wouldn't call Sam Gawith codger, although any good tobacconist would stock them loose.

Edited to say: Ogden's was widely available in the past, and a lot of their blends were available in newsagents', not just St Bruno.
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
182
399
United States
Yes, thank you, someone edited my original thread title, and now one must read my first post to understand my meaning.
Codger blends are burley based and mildly aromatic, with only a touch of virginia and no perique or oriental.
Such blends offer the attributes popular with the common man during the golden age of smoking:
easy on the tongue, burn well, smoke dry, and do not offend the fairer sex.
Examples are: Velvet, Prince Albert, Carter Hall, Sir Walter Raleigh, Half and Half, etc.
Some codger blends were also marketed to roll-your-own cigarette smokers.
They were available in every general store and gas station -- usually in both small tin (now pouch) and larger can (now also plastic tub).
Codger blends are also termed "drug store blends" or OTC (Over The Counter) blends.
In later years, they were displayed alongside imported goopy aromatics such as Borkim Riff and Amphora, which tempt the naive smoker with strong pleasant aromas.
Pipe blends slowly disappeared from general stores as, state by state, increasingly restrictive tobacco laws were enforced, and pipe smoking fell out of general favor.
Codger blends are currently enjoying a small renaissance.
As these blends disappear from general stores, they re-appear in pipe shops, to serve the occasional codger who wanders in looking for his favorite blend.
Younger smokers are thus exposed to these time-tested blends, and some try them and grow to appreciate codger blends for the same attributes which made them so popular in the first place.
And some simply have nostalgia for their father's or grandfather's old reliable blend.
Codger blends are not lower priced--tobacco tax has made all blends equally expensive. Nor are they of lower quality--in either tobacco or processing. And so, codger blends may yet outlive us codgers!
 
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Jun 9, 2018
4,049
13,056
England
I'm not sure that's true for SG, really. If you define them as blends you can get at the drugstore (or newsagents' here), it would be things like Condor, St Bruno, Clan, Original Flake and maybe a couple of others. Sadly Ogdens don't exist anymore, St Bruno and Original/Walnut are both MacBaren offerings nowadays. I definitely wouldn't call Sam Gawith codger, although any good tobacconist would stock them loose.

Edited to say: Ogden's was widely available in the past, and a lot of their blends were available in newsagents', not just St Bruno.
Special Virginia (formerly Mellow Virginia) used to be readily available at most newsagents and supermarkets. No idea if it still is. I'd consider that a "codger blend".
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
182
399
United States
American codger blends appeared in drugstores, not because tobacconists did not carry them, but because the demand was so great that wider distribution was necessary and profitable.
As pipe smokers grew scarce, pipe shops naturally transitioned to higher margin house blends and imports, to avoid competing with drug store pricing.
 
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simong

Lifer
Oct 13, 2015
2,599
15,534
UK
I'm not sure that's true for SG, really. If you define them as blends you can get at the drugstore (or newsagents' here), it would be things like Condor, St Bruno, Clan, Original Flake and maybe a couple of others. Sadly Ogdens don't exist anymore, St Bruno and Original/Walnut are both MacBaren offerings nowadays. I definitely wouldn't call Sam Gawith codger, although any good tobacconist would stock them loose.

Edited to say: Ogden's was widely available in the past, and a lot of their blends were available in newsagents', not just St Bruno.
I'd agree with that. Up until the Internet I'd never even seen a tin of Samuel Gawith. Loose tobacco from Gawith Hoggarth on the other hand was well known & widely available. Even in small town tobacconists like Brundretts in Hereford.
Codger has a slightly different meaning I think in America. Although in my mind the most typical codger blend would be Player's Digger. A Stout va/bur flake, no longer available of course.
 

andrew

Lifer
Feb 13, 2013
3,043
402
I'd agree with that. Up until the Internet I'd never even seen a tin of Samuel Gawith. Loose tobacco from Gawith Hoggarth on the other hand was well known & widely available. Even in small town tobacconists like Brundretts in Hereford.
Codger has a slightly different meaning I think in America. Although in my mind the most typical codger blend would be Player's Digger. A Stout va/bur flake, no longer available of course.
Gawith hoggarth then. I just remember hearing from a guy in england they were sold in pouches and available everywhere there. But yes otc blends over there are much different then across the pond
 
Jan 30, 2020
1,901
6,281
New Jersey
Yes, thank you, someone edited my original thread title, and now one must read my first post to understand my meaning.
Codger blends are burley based and mildly aromatic, with only a touch of virginia and no perique or oriental.
Such blends offer the attributes popular with the common man during the golden age of smoking:
easy on the tongue, burn well, smoke dry, and do not offend the fairer sex.
Examples are: Velvet, Prince Albert, Carter Hall, Sir Walter Raleigh, Half and Half, etc.
Some codger blends were also marketed to roll-your-own cigarette smokers.
They were available in every general store and gas station -- usually in both small tin (now pouch) and larger can (now also plastic tub).
Codger blends are also termed "drug store blends" or OTC (Over The Counter) blends.
In later years, they were displayed alongside imported goopy aromatics such as Borkim Riff and Amphora, which tempt the naive smoker with strong pleasant aromas.
Pipe blends slowly disappeared from general stores as, state by state, increasingly restrictive tobacco laws were enforced, and pipe smoking fell out of general favor.
I don’t know why you insist codger blends are burley based. Plenty of classic OTC blends are cavendish or even Virginia based. Lane 1-Q and many of the captain black blends are cavendish, Virginia or a combination of the two.

The specific examples you gave might be burley based, but there’s an entirely other set that are not. I can likely find a pouch of captain black at most of my deli and gas stations around here but would have a harder time finding granger.
 

WerewolfOfLondon

Can't Leave
Jun 8, 2023
467
1,567
London
Codger blends in the UK are not burley forward as they are in the US. Whilst they do tend to be aromatics, burley never plays a leading role. Certianly none of them are heavily topped straight burley, as they seem to be in the US. Virginia tends to take the lead in our codger blends, Condor, St Bruno, and Erinmore come to mind. That said, you needn't worry about tongue bite, unless you have a higly sensitive palate. These blends were orginally cooked up with the mass market in mind, so tongue bite is heavily guarded against. However, unlike the heavily laced burley US OTC blends, they do have a resemblance to actual tobacco. Apart from Clan and Gold Block that is, stay away from them.
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
182
399
United States
Codger blends in the UK are not burley forward as they are in the US. Whilst they do tend to be aromatics, burley never plays a leading role. Certianly none of them are heavily topped straight burley, as they seem to be in the US. Virginia tends to take the lead in our codger blends, Condor, St Bruno, and Erinmore come to mind. That said, you needn't worry about tongue bite, unless you have a higly sensitive palate. These blends were orginally cooked up with the mass market in mind, so tongue bite is heavily guarded against. However, unlike the heavily laced burley US OTC blends, they do have a resemblance to actual tobacco. Apart from Clan and Gold Block that is, stay away from them.
Please allow me to address a difference in definition, which I notice in your post as well as in the immediately prior post. American Codger blends, the ones most popular 1945-1965 (the American 'golden age of smoking') are NOT heavily cased.

Confusion arises because, in the 1960s, general stores began to sell (as I mentioned previously) heavily cased blends from Scandanavia. Therefore, some will lump these strongly aromatic blends together with codger blends under the common name "drug store blend".

I well recall, circa 1968, a group of us juvenile delinquents 'obtaining' 😉 Borkum Riff and Amphora, along with corncob pipes, from general stores to smoke 'out in the woods'. These blends smoke well in cobs. Unfortunately, many a would-be pipe smoker dropped the practice because he found these candy-like aromatics smoke hot and wet in briar.

As to captain black, the original is indeed a codger (burley) blend. Its later varieties, no.

Proclivity to tongue bite is high in the general population. This is why codger blends sold well during the golden age when a sizable percentage of men smoked pipes. Some codger blends have been popular since 1920.

What I am learning in this thread is that lightly cased, burley forward blends have never been popular in Europe?
I enjoy a good full English blend as much as the next fellow, but not as a regular smoke. Same with heavily cased (topped) aromatics, which I keep strictly to absorbant cobs and meers.

Currently popular virginia/perique blends are not for me, unless cellared in the tin for many years.
 
Last edited:

WerewolfOfLondon

Can't Leave
Jun 8, 2023
467
1,567
London
Please allow me to address a difference in definition, which I notice in your post as well as in the immediately prior post. American Codger blends, the ones most popular 1945-1965 (the American 'golden age of smoking') are NOT heavily cased.

Confusion arises because, in the 1960s, general stores began to sell (as I mentioned previously) heavily cased blends from Scandanavia. Therefore, some will lump these strongly aromatic blends together with codger blends under the common name "drug store blend".

I well recall, circa 1968, a group of us juvenile delinquents 'obtaining' 😉 Borkum Riff and Amphora, along with corncob pipes, from general stores to smoke 'out in the woods'. These blends smoke well in cobs. Unfortunately, many a would-be pipe smoker dropped the practice because he found these candy-like aromatics smoke hot and wet in briar.

As to captain black, the original is indeed a codger (burley) blend. Its later varieties, no.

Proclivity to tongue bite is high in the general population. This is why codger blends sold well during the golden age when a sizable percentage of men smoked pipes. Some codger blends have been popular since 1920.

What I am learning in this thread is that lightly cased, burley forward blends have never been popular in Europe?
I enjoy a good full English blend as much as the next fellow, but not as a regular smoke. Same with heavily cased (topped) aromatics, which I keep strictly to absorbant cobs and meers.

Currently popular virginia/perique blends are not for me, unless cellared in the tin for many years.
Ah I see. The only American OTCs I have smoked have been recent. I have tried SWR, Half/Half, and Velvet. Not bad smokes by any means. But as you have correctly stated, burley forward cased blends are not popular here, at least to my meagre knowledge. But neither are English blends, if we mean by that blends that contain latakia. If by chance you do encounter a pipe smoker in the 'wild', as they say, the chance that person will be smoking a latakia blend is remote. Most likely an OTC, hardly any of which contain latakia, and none of which could be genuiely described as an 'English blend'.
 
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paulfg

Lifer
Feb 21, 2016
1,573
2,949
Corfu Greece
I alway equate codger blend to refer to easily obtained blends available in newsagents etc not just specialist tobacconists,of which there were many more than today, and as a boy growing up in the UK the most popular seemed to be St Bruno and Condor.
These 2 were easily recognised by there aroma but are not Burley based.

Maybe this is because cigarettes in the UK are Virginia based ,whilst I think in US are Burley (I could well be wrong on this)
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
182
399
United States
Ah I see. The only American OTCs I have smoked have been recent. I have tried SWR, Half/Half, and Velvet. Not bad smokes by any means. But as you have correctly stated, burley forward cased blends are not popular here, at least to my meagre knowledge. But neither are English blends, if we mean by that blends that contain latakia. If by chance you do encounter a pipe smoker in the 'wild', as they say, the chance that person will be smoking a latakia blend is remote. Most likely an OTC, hardly any of which contain latakia, and none of which could be genuiely described as an 'English blend'.
Thank you for your reply. I am surprised to learn English blends are not popular in England! And yes, I associate English blends with Latakia, and other Oriental tobaccos, as well as with the old legal stipulation that English blends contain only pure tobacco without flavorings.

As a young adult, I smoked English blends exclusively, until the kindly next-door neighbor lady gifted me with a more aromatic blend! Message received 😂

So, if I may inquire, what blends are popular these days in jolly olde?
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
182
399
United States
I alway equate codger blend to refer to easily obtained blends available in newsagents etc not just specialist tobacconists,of which there were many more than today, and as a boy growing up in the UK the most popular seemed to be St Bruno and Condor.
These 2 were easily recognised by there aroma but are not Burley based.

Maybe this is because cigarettes in the UK are Virginia based ,whilst I think in US are Burley (I could well be wrong on this)
You are correct sir, regarding UK/USA cigarettes. When I smoked cigarettes somewhat regularly, I delighted in the novel experience of Dunhill cigarettes -- drawn from a classy leather/gold case of course!

For a while, I rolled my own cigarettes from English blend pipe tobaccos, and received many compliments.
 

WerewolfOfLondon

Can't Leave
Jun 8, 2023
467
1,567
London
Thank you for your reply. I am surprised to learn English blends are not popular in England! And yes, I associate English blends with Latakia, and other Oriental tobaccos, as well as with the old legal stipulation that English blends contain only pure tobacco without flavorings.

As a young adult, I smoked English blends exclusively, until the kindly next-door neighbor lady gifted me with a more aromatic blend! Message received 😂

So, if I may inquire, what blends are popular these days in jolly olde?
Yes English blends certainly give off an obnoxious aroma lol

So blends that are popular here? I mean, it isn't an easy thing to determine, as I personally never come into contact with other pipe smokers. Last year I counted four people I saw smoking a pipe, normally older fellas smoking them outside pubs. They all were smoking what looked like bent Petersons or basket pipes, and I'd bet my bottom dollar they were smoking OTC blends, so one of either St Bruno, Condor, or because most of these blokes were drinking outside an Irish pub near my house, maybe Erinmore. And if you look on our main tobacco retail websites, and look for the most popular blends, the first two especially always take the top slots. Clan also comes in, as does Gold Block. English blends are way down the list and I very much doubt these are being smoked by so-called codgers. More likely some art student hanging around outside the Tate Modern ha ha.
 

Professor Moriarty

Starting to Get Obsessed
Apr 13, 2023
182
399
United States
Yes English blends certainly give off an obnoxious aroma lol

So blends that are popular here? I mean, it isn't an easy thing to determine, as I personally never come into contact with other pipe smokers. Last year I counted four people I saw smoking a pipe, normally older fellas smoking them outside pubs. They all were smoking what looked like bent Petersons or basket pipes, and I'd bet my bottom dollar they were smoking OTC blends, so one of either St Bruno, Condor, or because most of these blokes were drinking outside an Irish pub near my house, maybe Erinmore. And if you look on our main tobacco retail websites, and look for the most popular blends, the first two especially always take the top slots. Clan also comes in, as does Gold Block. English blends are way down the list and I very much doubt these are being smoked by so-called codgers. More likely some art student hanging around outside the Tate Modern ha ha.
smokingpipes.com carries St Bruno, both flake and ready rubbed. The description is appealing. Great reviews, and I learned something,
"inside they place a card saying that the tin could show some signs of rust due to the vinegar used as a preservative".

This solves the mystery of vinegar odor from McClelland virginia blends, and why they coated the inside of their cans with a thin plastic coating.
I had some unopened McClelland blends go dry after decades in storage. I figured it must be from a slow leak on an inadequate seal. But now I think the vinegar preservative reacted with the plastic coating and/or underlying metal, and produced gasses which broke the seal by outward pressure. The inside of these cans are bubbled and discolored.
I am uncertain why one is discolored grey while the other is discolored brown. 🤔

Anyway, I have placed St Bruno RR on order. Soon I shall experience a genuine UK codger blend! Thanks for the tip 👌🏻 , and many happy puffs to you.

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